I can’t say I enjoy seeing “fail” all over the facebook or the comments sections of my precious MMA sites. Internet slang in general is not my cup of tea. But I really couldn’t think of any other way to describe my efforts at the game of life Thursday night. It was an epic fail, no question about it.
My evening began with a trip to Hell’s Kitchen* to see Battle: LA. We had a promotion at my trivia night last week where we gave away some passes to an advanced screening. I kept one for myself. There was no part of me that thought this was going to be a good movie, but the guy in charge of the promotion was friendly, we got stonar, he said he’d put me on the VIP list. It felt a little cool, I guess. Free stuff is always great. I like movies. This was a good combination.
*Middle Manhattan is a strange, unfriendly place to me. I have no idea what goes on there. Frankly, I don’t want to know. And I’m not talking about Times Square. People always rag on Times Square, but it has its place. Tourists love it and I don’t begrudge them that. But everything else above 14th street and below Central Park is completely foreign to me. I feel like a tourist there, myself. I guess I still don’t know most of this city very well. Probably never will. I like being in my apartment with my dog and my internet too much.
Only, it wasn’t. I got there too late to cash in on the VIP seat and had to sit in the very front row. My guy told me to get there early, but who listens to such warnings? When someone tells me to get somewhere early, my mental response is inevitably “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Then when I see it, the reponse is, “Hm. They were right. I should’ve gotten here early.” I never admonish myself or learn my lesson. True to form, thats exactly how it played out this time.
It’s pretty hard to enjoy a movie from the front row. This movie, in particular, was impossible. The action was shot almost entirely in that ridiculous herky-jerky style that everyone hates, but bad action directors seem to love. I’ve long since stopped trying to figure out the allure of this stuff. Is it supposed to make you feel like you’re really there? It doesn’t. POV shots don’t even get the job done in pornography, we certainly don’t need them in our feature films. And yet, this trend will inevitably continue. And….gain popularity? I’ve never talked to anyone who likes it. But I also don’t talk to very many people.
I don’t want to overstate this, but the camera-work literally made me sick. I got a stomach-ache. And you just couldn’t see anything. I never figured out what the bad guys looked like, or even what they were. My friend Ariana and I had a bet on whether they’d be robots or aliens. We left the theater unsure who owed who money.
I should probably clarify here that I walked out after an hour or so. The movie was terrible, it was making me ill, and my boy Alec Gross had a show at The Living Room, my favorite venue. So I was more than ready to leave early at the slightest provocation. Enter Michelle Rodriguez.
The crowd in the theater, unbelievably, cheered when her stupid scowling face made its first appearance. I tapped my stoney-colleague and was like “We’re done here.” I will watch a bad movie. I will not watch Michelle Rodriguez*. The fact that I sat amongst a pro-Rodriguez crowd for over an hour is terrifying.
*Bridgette Moynihan, the other worst actress in the world, is also in this movie. The casting director is Debra Zane. Look out for future projects, this chick is an up-and-comer!
So I set sail, hailing a cab to exchange bad culture for good. Gross is one of the very few local musicians I’ve found that really does it for me. Stirring voice, cool guy, just the kind of folk/alt-country sound I’m looking for. At The Living Room, with the full band behind him, its a beautiful thing. I look forward to these shows, and I’d missed the last one. I was thrilled to be able to wash the Battle: LA mess off me with some nice, cleansing toonage. This was a hang I could get behind.
For the second time in a month, I was denied entry into a bar. I don’t carry ID anymore. Not on purpose necessarily, but my driver’s license is almost three years expired. I vowed to start carrying my passport instead, which of course I never remember to do. I hardly ever need it. Greenpoint dives don’t usually come equipped with a doorman, and my most regular drinking is done at the bar where I work. And I’m almost 30, for crying out loud. Fucking Manhattan, gettin’ all high society on a poor working stiff. ID? What is this, 1984? Can’t a guy just do his thing? Get high in your bathroom, complain about beer prices, daydream additional Tolkien storylines, how can you not want a customer like that?
I can usually talk my way in, having honed that skill over years of carrying expired ID. That was like a prep-course for no-ID existence. But this guy wasn’t budging. Not in the least. I sort of respected him for it, to tell the truth. He was totally unmoved by anything I had to say, but wasn’t a dick about it. No hard feelings.
Defeated on yet another front, my night was now over. I walked to the subway in the pouring rain, having forgotten my umbrella at that awful movie. If you want to read an actual review of it, check out Ebert’s take. He’s in rare form. You can tell thus one pissed him off. A few choice cuts:
“The dialogue consists almost entirely of terse screams: Watch it! Incoming! Move! Look out! Fire! Move! The only characters I remember having four sentences in a row are the anchors on cable news.”
“The aliens are hilarious. Do they give Razzies for special effects?”
“Eckhart is perfectly cast, and let the word go forth that he makes one hell of a great-looking action hero. He is also a fine actor, but acting skills are not required from anyone in this movie.”
“Young men: If you attend this crap with friends who admire it, tactfully inform them they are idiots. Young women: If your date likes this movie, tell him you’ve been thinking it over, and you think you should consider spending some time apart.”
The next time some Williamsburg hipster clown asks me who my favorite philosopher is, I’m going to say Roger Ebert. That’ll show him/her. Then I’ll tell this as yet mythical person that I know when he says he’s “freelance” that means his parents are paying for everything. Because I might not know this city very well, but here’s one thing I’ve learned: if someone lives in Williamsburg, is a musician, and claims to be freelance, they’ve never had to work a day in their life.
I am prepared for this future encounter.
Battle: LA was terrible.